Good morning everyone! Welcome to Part 2 of my predictions for the 2018 Mid-Terms. I enjoyed reading all the feedback last night, including from those who disagree with my predictions! Everything’s a guess until Tuesday night, so I’m glad there was a lot of feedback, discussions, and constructive criticism. In case you missed it, you can find Part 1 here.
Here are my predictions for IA3, IL6, KS2, KY6, ME2, MI8, and MI11:
Iowa 3, David Young (R), incumbent, vs. Cindy Axne (D):
Against a Democrat, Libertarian, and two other independent candidates in 2016, David Young won reelection handily, with a margin of nearly 14 points. The competitor who came the closest was Jim Mowrer (D), who Young easily out-fundraised. In 2014, Young won by nearly 11 points over Stavi Appel. Now in 2018, Cindy Axne has a chance when history would suggest she should not. She’s raised almost two million more than Young and, as of the middle of October, Axne had over $900,000 still on hand. Young is also struggling with lukewarm favorability ratings while Axne, a relatively unknown politician and small-business owner, has been able to frame herself positively because of her cash advantage.
Red Wall vote: Young (R) wins, 53-44 (third parties receive three percent)
Blue Wave vote: Axne (D) wins, 51-45
Illinois 6, Peter Roskam (R), incumbent, vs. Sean Casten (D):
Incumbent Peter Roskam, who has been in the House since 2006, has repeatedly trounced his opponents, crushing Leslie Coolidge in 2012 by over 18 points, Michael Mason by over 33 points in 2014, and Amanda Howland by over 18 points in 2016. This year, Roskam has also has raised more money than his opponent, Sean Casten. The GOP should have a cakewalk in the district, but Roskam is seen as vulnerable by the House GOP, which has poured over two million dollars into the race. Yet in 2016, Hillary Clinton did well in the district, winning by seven points, and Casten, a business-owner, has been able to raise millions. If Democrats can steal this seat, it’s going to be a very difficult night for Republicans.
Red Wall vote: Roskam (R) wins, 57-43
Blue Wave vote: Casten (D) wins, 51-49
Kansas 2, Steve Watkins (R) vs. Paul Davis (D) vs. Kelly Standley (L):
Lynn Jenkins, the current incumbent in Kansas’s 2nd district, announced in January of last year that she would not seek reelection. For the GOP, that is proving to be very bad news, as Jenkins utterly crushed her opponents in the last few election cycles, destroying her Democrat challenger by over 28 points in 2016, 18 points in 2014, and 18 points in 2012, and by an astounding 31 points in 2010. Former Army Ranger Steve Watkins is facing off against former minority leader in the Kansas State House Paul Davis. Davis has tripled the fundraising of Watkins and has more cash in hand going into the final few days of the campaign. On top of that, Kelly Standley, a Libertarian candidate, might play spoiler and steal some needed votes from Watkins. From an easy race to a nail-biter, if Republicans want to keep control of the House, races like these are absolute must-wins.
Red Wall vote: Watkins (R) wins, 49-48-3
Blue Wave vote: Davis (D) wins, 53-44-3
Kentucky 6, Andy Barr (R), incumbent, vs. Amy McGrath (D) vs. Rikka Wallin (I):
Andy Barr first won election to Kentucky’s 6th back in 2012, defeating Democrat incumbent Ben Chandler by slightly less than four points. Since then, Barr has demolished his opponents, winning in 2014 by 20 points and in 2016 by 22. Yet Amy McGrath, a former Marine Fighter Pilot, made headlines with a campaign ad emphasizing her childhood dream of flying jets. Since then, not only have polls been close, but McGrath has raised three million more dollars than Barr. Going into the final few days of the campaign, she has double the money he has on hand. But complicating the race is Rikka Wallin, an Independent, who is pushing Single-Payer healthcare for all. This will cut into McGrath’s vote total, potentially stripping the Democrats of a win in a competitive race.
Red Wall vote: Barr (R) wins, 50-48-2
Blue Wave vote: McGrath wins (D), 53-45-2
Maine 2, Bruce Poliquin (R), incumbent, vs. Jared Golden (D) vs. Several Third-Party Candidates:
First elected in 2014, Poliquin has won his elections by much more modest margins than most other Republicans in toss-up races. Poliquin defeated Emily Ann Cain by just over 5 points in 2014, then went on to win reelection in 2016 by defeating Cain again by just under 10 points. Two years later, Poliquin is facing off against former Marine Jared Golden. While Poliquin has remained a fairly reliable GOP vote, he refused to endorse President Trump in 2016. And as with other Republicans running in tight races, Poliquin is being heavily out-fundraised, though only by a relatively small $900,000. Like Florida 15, this is bell weather vote on election night. If Golden wins, especially by five or more points, it will be a long night for Republicans. If Poliquin crushes Golden, it will be a very long night for Democrats.
Another major twist in this race is “ranked-choice” voting, in which a majority must be reached to win the election. Should no one win a majority on the first round of ballots, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the people who voted for that person have their votes switched to their second choice, and so on. Most likely someone will win before all the independents are eliminated from the vote total, but we’ll only know Tuesday night.
Red Wall vote: Poliquin (R) wins, 52-46-2
Blue Wave vote: Golden (D) wins, 53-45-2
Michigan 8, Mike Bishop (R), incumbent, vs. Elissa Slotkin (D) vs. Several Third-Party Candidates:
Mike Bishop has represented Michigan’s 8th district since 2014, when he defeated Democrat Eric Schertzing by over 14 points. In 2016, he won another commanding victory, defeating Suzanna Shkreli by nearly 17 points. In both races, third-party candidates received a few percentage points as well. His opponent this year is Elissa Slotkin, a national security agent for the Bush and Obama administrations. To win this, Democrats have an uphill battle, but are buoyed by crushing Bishop in fundraising, doubling his take and still having a million dollars in the waning days of the campaign. Still, it will take a true-blue Blue Wave for Democrats to snag this seat. If they do, Republicans are almost certain to lose the House.
Red Wall vote: Bishop (R) wins, 53-43-4
Blue Wave vote: Slotkin (D) wins, 49-47-4
Michigan 11, Lena Epstein (R) vs. Haley Stevens (D):
David Trott, the current representative of Michigan’s 11th district, announced last September that he would not seek reelection. Trott was only a 2-term incumbent, riding the Red Tsunami in 2014 to a 15-plus point victory against Democrat Bobby McKenzie, then winning again in 2016 against Anil Kumar by nearly 13 points. Now, two relatively unknown candidates are facing off against one another. So low is their name-recognition that polls from October still show that the majority of Michigan’s 11th district didn’t know either candidate (which hopefully has changed in the last few weeks).
Lena Epstein helped run President Trump’s campaign in Michigan in 2016, while Haley Stevens is the former chief of staff for President Obama’s auto task force. With so many voters unaware of the candidates, campaign ads and name-recognition is a must, and money is half the battle. Stevens is not only out-raising Epstein, but in the last few days of the campaign, she has over $450,000 on hand to Epstein’s $60,000. There are also several third-party candidates running who might get a few percentage points of the vote.
Red Wall vote: Stevens (D) wins, 50-48
Blue Wave vote: Stevens (D) wins, 55-43